[sword-devel] Saturday's thread about copyright (was: something about the Arabic Life Appl. Bible)

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Tue Jun 3 03:01:15 MST 2008

Glen Pfeiffer wrote:
>> jonathon wrote:
>> Well, "a verse", presuming non-commercial usage would be fair 
>> use.
>> But what we're really talking about is "I am breaking to law if 
>> I copy and paste EVERY verse from e-Sword to wordpad on the 
>> same computer." And that's definitely copyright infringement.
> I disagree. My interpretation of the law is that Copyright is 
> intended to control distribution rights, not usage rights. I 
> know, it's a bit strange, you actually do have the right to make 
> a copy of a book that you have purchased for your own personal 
> use.

Well, yes and no.

Copyright Law in the US (Title 17 § 106) is fairly explicit in 
indicating that copyright is about who has the right to COPY, not merely 
distribute. Quoting from http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106:

". . . the owner of copyright . . . has the exclusive rights to do and 
to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

. . .

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the 
public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or 

. . ."

(1) specifically addresses making copies. (2) specifically addresses 
distribution. And, importantly, they do so separately.

That was the "no" part. The "yes" part involves things like 
time-shifting, place-shifting, and format-shifting. Regardless of 
whether copyright holders like it, these practices have all been 
affirmed as fair use by the courts (e.g. in the Broadcast Flag case, ALA 
v. FCC). Indeed, TiVos that use cablecards (Series3 & HD-) do all three 
AND are certified by cablelabs (a cable industry group). TiVo's own 
TivoToGo software will pull videos off your DVR and gives you the option 
of converting it to DRM-less formats that you can put on iPods, PSPs, 
etc. So, to some degree, all of that is seen as falling under fair use.

Fair use depends, to a large degree, on how you intend to use the copy. 
And fair use itself is deliberately vaguely defined. There's not a list 
of clear guidelines or rules about what constitutes fair use. It's best 
to remain extremely conservative in taking fair use liberties unless 
there is established case law. Otherwise, you're in the realm of trial 
and error (where error means getting sued).

As far as CrossWire is concerned, however, we will never give any 
assistance to anyone we suspect is attempting to violate copyright or 
licensing. (Licensing being an entirely different can of worms.)


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